The use of the world’s first dengue vaccine should be temporarily suspended except in limited circumstances because of concerns that it could put some people at heightened risk of severe disease, according to prominent public health experts.
That step, they say, is necessary after studies showed that the vaccine, manufactured by Sanofi Pasteur, can have an unfortunate effect: worsening — rather than preventing — future cases of dengue in some people who had not previously been infected with it.
The experts, who include the co-chair of a technical group that advised the World Health Organization on the vaccine, said only people known to have contracted the disease — that is, those whose medical records confirm previous infection — should be offered the vaccine at this time.
Sanofi, too, has said the vaccine should only be given to people who have been previously sickened with dengue. But the company has suggested that it could still be allowed in places where so many people have been sickened that it’s reasonable to assume most will have been infected by age 9, the earliest age at which the vaccine can be given.